Was about to post this in the Rolen thread, but I figured the info applies to any trade discussion and the Reds ability/inability to add payroll.
Certainly can't speak to what the payroll budget is/was for this year. But when they were within scratching distance of first a few weeks ago, Walt did characterize the club as "buyers." Not saying that means anything, especially now. But that to me says payroll expansion for this season isn't out of the question.
But what about next year? What's on the books?
Thanks to only 1-2 "bad" contracts and a whole lot of young/cheap talent, I think the team does have some flexibility to add a contract at this deadline, at least as it applies to 2010 (i.e. Rolen).
To wit, the Reds' 2010 payroll obligations (using Cot's):
There would also be buy-outs on AGon and Ramon's options, totaling 1.5 mill.
Call it right now, about $59 mill payroll if you don't pick up those two options and the Weathers option.
With Votto, Hanigan, Bruce, Janish, Dickerson, Volquez, Cueto, Owings and Bailey all working for league min, as well as the rest of the bullpen arms (presumably), there aren't *that* many holes to fill still. Obviously have to solve the 2nd catcher situation (renegotiate with Ramon?) and you need a shortstop if you don't give the job to Janish. There's also left field... but maybe Dickerson steps into that (with a platoon mate) if you have to keep Willy in center as your starter. Lots of pieces in play on that front.
But the point is, the Reds again hit the trading deadline with some payroll flex for next season. So taking on someone like Rolen does seem do-able. In fact, he represents a $6.5 mill increase over Edwin, if you're able to swap them somehow.
And that doesn't even start to address what the club could do if it sold off the Arroyo $12 mill contract before next season and inserted Bailey into the roto.
Just something to think about and consider as the trading winds blow these next few weeks.